Saturday, September 29, 2012

What baseball playing athlete would ever pass on being recognized in The Hall Of Fame? It is like the ultimate reward for your talent and success to be listed as one of the best anywhere. Even the most creative artists love their Tony Awards if they were on Broadway, their Oscars if they were in a movie and their Pulitzer Prize award for good writing. It is the annual award given by Columbia University. A prize for books published in the United States that can include fiction, biography, general non-fiction, history and poetry. We put our kids in little leagues so they have a chance at winning a trophy. The Scouts have a sash to proudly display all their merit badges. To give up on a type of recognition or award can be considered almost anti-American.
Well, not if you are Reggie Jackson. He has decided to pass on his Induction Ceremony at Cooperstown. Yes, the place where the Hall of Famers is located for honorable mention for great baseball players. Was that a good decision? In the past 6 months he has caused criticism of him and we noticed that a variety of baseball notables did not want inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Who would not want to be in the place that would promote their achievements? Reggie Jackson is a former baseball right fielder who played 21 seasons in Major League Baseball for four different teams. Reggie told Sports Illustrated Magazine that Alex Rodriguez admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs.
Alex Rodriguez plays third base with the New York Yankees and hit 300 home runs while wearing that uniform. He has admitted to using steroids for most of his career after first flatly denying the use of the performance enhancing substance. Reggie Jackson was bold enough to suggest that there was a variety of notables that did not merit inclusion. Well, because his judgment of others is personal and his timing is terrible, Reggie can retreat from his stated views. We can only hope that the point of what he said isn’t altogether lost on the Hall of Fame’s voters. Reggie was basically writing contending that the Hall of Fame’s doors should not be opened just because you stuck around long enough to collect 3,000 hits or 300 wins.
Yes, the numbers are proof that there are a group of very good players but as the former star pitcher Jim Coates noted so astutely that Cooperstown is supposed to be a Hall of Fame not necessarily a hall of achievement. Jim was a pitcher for the New York Yankees who holds the record of 27-5 at Yankee Stadium. He is in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Virginia. Ok, I know what numbers you have acquired like batting average and number of home runs or even the amount of games you played is the same as achievement but if the voters were really so obsessed with honoring guys with numbers, they would be wise to start rethinking the exclusion of those mega stars linked to steroid use.
They should do it quickly and exclude the drug enhancing players. The next Cooperstown ballot will for the very first time include among others both the 7 time Most Valuable Player Barry Bonds who is now a former Major League Baseball outfielder. He has a record of hitting well over 700 home runs but also denied the use of steroids. He was later convicted of obstruction of justice for lying to a Grand Jury about using steroids and human growth hormones.
It will also include the 7 time Cy Young Winner Rodger Clemons who played 24 seasons as a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. He lied to Congress about his steroid use and was acquitted of all charges. While both men have a suspect past, it is going to be hard to argue that they don’t deserve a brass bust made of their image in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
What is a Hall of Fame of Baseball that somehow excludes the sports home run king and its most honored pitcher and its all time hits leader? Now without these best of the best guys the Hall of Fame would be making a mockery of its own name and purpose. Too bad they are getting the honors while they were the few who earned their status through enhancement drugs.

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